Posted in Art, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Online Homeschool Programs, Uncategorized

Creating a Masterpiece – Drawing Program (a review)

img_0650

Homeschool art curriculum such as the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece is a great way to add drawing instruction to your child’s day, or for your own educational enrichment.  Ever since I was young, I avoided art because that was an area where my older sister excelled.  However, having four children with various gifts and talents in art made me long to learn how to draw myself.  So when I saw the opportunity to review this online program, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review it myself.

Creating a Masterpiece provides online art lessons for children and adults of all ages.  According to the website, “Proven by the success of thousands of students, Creating a Masterpiece is the perfect choice to empower students with the skills needed to succeed in creating fine art. Students of all ages will be challenged by the unique emphasis on producing beautiful, masterpiece quality artwork.”  Truly, there is something for everyone in this program.

Master artist and teacher Sharon Hofer offers instructions that are broken down into manageable pieces and that are easy to understand. From Drawing to the Core program to the Art History program, families have the ability to select what is the right program for their situation.  In the Core Program, projects include ink, watercolor, mixed media, and more.

For this review, we received access to the Drawing program.  Families can select from Beginning Drawing, Drawing Level 1, Drawing Level 2, or Drawing Level 3 based on experience and ability.  I am glad that all four levels were available to us.

The Art Skills taught in the Drawing levels include: Incorporating Value, Shading, Two Point Perspective and many more. The four levels include 30 Projects, 48 Lessons, 3 Drawing Media.  One important thing to remember is that quality supplies are required for this program.  Obviously, if you want to create a masterpiece like a master artist you need high-quality supplies.

Sharon Hofer begins each lesson by describing the project, showing a sample, along with listing the materials that will be used.  I found her manner of speech and the speed at which she talked to be manageable.  Each lesson is broken down into parts.  So if necessary, you could break each project into multiple sessions.

I believe for younger children, parents may need to help them with some of the techniques.  However, I believe that children of any age could and would enjoy this program.

I appreciated being able to decide what projects I wanted to work on in what order.  Another feature I like is how every lesson has a list of supplies needed to complete each project.  Because I am a beginner and not very confident in my abilities, I began with Beginning Drawing.  For the projects at this level, I had a choice of working with pencils, colored pencils, or charcoal.  I decided to begin with a cartoon giraffe.  It seemed like a fun project to complete.

The supplies needed for this project included:

  • Drawing Paper: White 9″x12″
  • Drawing Pencil: 6b
  • Pencil Eraser (refillable)
  • Regular 2b Pencil and Eraser

Here are some photos of me working on this project.

img_0640

 

As a supplement to this lesson, Ms. Hofer provided instructions to draw another cartoon of another animal so I decided to draw a bear.  Here is that sketch.  Now, I have to admit, I plan on going back and trying to do the bear again.

 

For my second project, I did a pencil project called “Simplicity” that included trees, hills, and water.  It required the following materials:

  • Drawing Pencil: 6b
  • Regular Pencil
  • Retractable Pencil Eraser
  • Eraser
  • Drawing Paper
  • Tortillon

Here is a collage of my work for this project.

img_0641

You can find Creating a Masterpiece on social media on Facebook.

So if you are looking for a Homeschool art curriculum such as the Drawing Program from Creating a Masterpiece. You should check out this program.  It is a great way to add drawing instruction to your child’s day, or for your own educational enrichment.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are writing about their experiences with this program this week.  Click here or on the graphic below to check out their reviews.

Posted in Home School Review Crew Posts, Language Arts, Literature

A Review of Progeny Press and their Shadow Spinner Study Guide Grades 5-8 &Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide Grades 9-12

img_0411

 

progeny-press-logo

Progeny Press makes earning High School Literature credits easy with high school level study guides such as  Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide and to complete Middle School Language Arts studies with Shadow Spinner Study Guide this time to review. With two students currently in high school, finding quality language arts materials is important to me.  Progeny Press makes finding literature studies simple.  Now I need to state upfront, I ordered the Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for my children.  However, I ordered the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for myself.

For the purpose of this review, our family received the interactive study guide for both books along with the answer keys for each.  These products were digital downloads that were easily retrieved from Progeny Press.  We did have to buy the actual literature selections ourselves. The e-book pdf has fillable fields so your student can work on a computer from grades 4 and up.   These guides can be reproduced and used with multiple students whether in the home or in a co-op.

According to its website, Progeny Press’ mission is:
“To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!”  With our family’s Christian values, this mission statement meets exactly what I am looking for in Literature and the English curriculum for our children.

img_0369

Because our children are in high school, I want literature plans that include comprehension questions, critical thinking skills analysis, literary techniques as well as vocabulary.  The study guides from Progeny Press meet all those requirements.

img_0413

One of the factors that make this company and its Study Guides rank high on my list for literature is the study guides are interactive.  This means I avoid having to print out tons of paper and using a ton of ink.  My children have the ability to answer the questions right on the computer.  Witha quick click of my mouse, I was able to download the Study Guide as well as the separate Answer Key.  The directions state that the answer key should only be downloaded on the teacher’s computer.  Because my children are in high school, I would have no problem with them having the answer key on their own computers.

Our family has always been fans of a television series that had one of the lead characters to portray the role of Sherlock Holmes.  So our teenagers were excited about studying this work.  The guide includes biographical information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, activities to complete before reading, vocabulary words, literary techniques, moral lessons and character values along with other activities and writing assignments as well as Biblical lessons.

img_0413

My children found the exercises to be what they expected to have to complete for a literature course.  I appreciated how a comprehensive list of materials for further reading as well as the movie suggests was provided.  All in all my teenagers were satisfied with this guide.

img_0414

The answer key includes all the correct responses for questions that do not require the student to form their own opinion.  So for the middle school guide, students are required to read a sentence and then form their own idea of what the definition of the selected word is before looking it up in a dictionary and writing that definition down.

img_0420

Now I personally have watched a television program that mentioned Sharazad, but while in school I never read anything related to Arabian Nights.  So I picked this one for myself.  Even as an adult, I believe no one is too old to continue learning and discovering new information for themselves. The activities in this interactive study guide were similar to the ones in Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide, but at a level that was appropriate for middle school students.  Again, the guide included vocabulary assignments, critical thinking assignments, as well as questions to make the students think.

You can find Progeny Press on social media at the following links:

Facebook: facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: pinterest.com/progenypress

All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian perspective which matters to our family.  So if you are looking for quality literature studies from a Christian perspective, check out Progeny Press and their Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide for High School students and to complete the Shadow Spinner Study Guide for middle school students.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are reviewing these guides as well as The Long Way to a New Land Study Guide Grades K-3 and Little House on the Prairie Study Guide Grades 4-6.  So click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews of Progeny Press.

study-guides-for-literature-progeny-press-reviews-2019

img_3888

 

 

Posted in Art, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of HIGASFY Art History Video Series

img_0210

have-i-got-a-story-for-you-logo

I have struggled with how to add art education to our homeschool but HiGASFY Art History Video Series made it possible to add this subject to our homeschool day.  I need to state from the beginning, however, I really wanted this subscription for myself.  For years I have wanted to develop some artistic talent.  Growing up, my older sister was the artist in our family and I did not want to try to compete with her.  So I elected to stay away from art.  I love having an online art curriculum that combines videos, and a curriculum bundle.

img_0255

The curriculum bundle includes lesson plans, Name that Artist activities, and flashcards for each era.  All of these can be printed out. However, I wanted to conserve ink, so I elected to download these items to my tablet where I could quickly and easily access them.  I elected to print the lesson plans in black and white so I could complete some of the activities such as the crossword puzzles and word searches.

img_0293

But my husband and I have three sons ages 23, almost 21, and almost 19 along with our daughter who is almost 17.  All four of these children at various points in their lives have demonstrated they are artistically talented. So I am determined to see what talent I can develop.  Because I attended a college that emphasized the Humanities, I recognize the importance of combining art history with the actual practice of art.

img_0292

HIGASFY combines the best of art history, artwork, and various activities that go across the curriculum spectrum.  Rather than being presented in a dry and boring manner, Mrs. Beth brings art to life along with her animated sidekick Gasfy who is a drop of paint.  Aimed at children in grades 1-8, I feel the videos capture the spirit and interests of children of all ages.

img_0211

The curriculum covers 4 different art eras: Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist. I elected to begin with the Impressionism period.  Recently I have become fascinated with the art and artists from this period.  This selection did not disappoint.  Mrs. Beth and Gafsy take you on a tour through art eras covering a plethora of artists, cultural events of that era all while examining masterpieces for what makes that period unique.

img_0292

The lessons plan clearly lay out what needs to be completed each day.  I love how free drawing days are included throughout the study.  I also appreciated how vocabulary words were included in the lesson plans as well.  Students need to know the terms that apply to a given period or artistic style.  In addition to the drawing activities, additional activities provided range from writing assignments to geography assignments to science to critical thinking skills and more.  On some days no videos are required, but instead free drawing assignments are given.

img_0312

The “Name that Artist” cards for each period provide examples of each artist’s pieces along with the name of the artist and the name of the piece.  This feature allows students to review artists they have already studied.  If my daughter was in grades 1-8 and she was the one doing this program, I would have printed out the cards and had them laminated to make them last longer.  Otherwise, I feel viewing them on my computer or tablet for me is fine.

img_0307

The flashcards provide pieces of artwork on one side of the card while the other side shows the artist’s name and the name of the piece.  I love how these cards go hand-in-hand to reinforce what the students are learning.

Hre are some of the drawing activities I attempted.

img_0294

You can find HIGAFSY Art History Video Series on social media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/higasfy/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/higasfy/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjrNWpYDazk50FyV7AdKhkw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/higasfy/

As an adult, I found the historical aspects, the artists selected, and the artwork selected to be inspiring.  I loved how the activities suggested go across curriculum lines and develop a well-rounded art program.

 

 

All in all, I have to say I feel HiGASFY Art History Video Series offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about art history and art education in a creative and inspiring way.  So check it out for yourself.  Other members of the Home School Review Crew are sharing their thoughts about this program this week as well.  Click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews.

have-i-got-a-story-for-you-art-history-video-series-reviews

img_3888

 

Posted in College, Composition and Writing, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetoric

 

teachable_br_logo
For success, college students need strong academic writing skills so we were excited to use and review the Premium Package of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ from BetterRhetor. Our eighteen-year-old son is approaching the time when he will be filling out college applications and having to write essays for his application, so I was excited for us to have the opportunity to review the premium package of this product.

BetterRhetoric strives to improve a student’s academic writing and provide for student success both when applying for and while attenidng college.  Regardless of what major a student strives for college readiness has to include proficient writing skills.

This online program includes a variety of videos, worksheets, and more to guide the student through the process of writing a persuasive essay.  Because my husband and I also have aspirations to get our masters degrees in the future, I felt this program would also be worthwhile for us to watch.  So in addition to our son watching the videos and doing the assignments, I did them as well.  Probably at some point in the future my husband will go through the material as well.

The course materials are located on the Teachable platform, which we found very easy to use. The course builds on each previous lesson from the overview in Lesson 1 to selecting a topic in lesson 3 to the outline in Lesson 10 to writing the introduction, this course provides excellent instruction, directions, and worksheets to help the students prepare.  Here are pictures of the course contents.

Our family loved how the worksheets could be filled out online and saved to a file either on our own computer or an online application that allowed our son to work on his paper wherever he was.  Here are some of the completed worksheets.

Because we selected the premium package, we also submitte a copy of the essay to be reviewed.  We opted to send in a rough draft of the essay.  With just a click of a few keys, the essay was emailed for review.  We received a prompt notification that our essay had been received.  Then it was just a matter of waiting for remarks to come back.

Dr. William Bryant, founder and CEO of BetterRhetoric reviewed the essay and sent detailed remarks for us to examine.  Here are some examples of the remarks we received.  We all felt the remarks were presented in a manner to help improve the paper rather than to tear down the student.

You can find BetterRhetoric on Social Media at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/collegereadywriting
Twitter: https://twitter.com/collreadywrite
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/collegereadywriting
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/collegereadywriting

All in all, our family recognizes the importance of writing effectively and correctly.  However, getting to that place is not always easy.  Sometimes it definitely benefits a student to have an outsider critique their work rather than a parent.  I feel BetterRhetoric andthe Premium Package of College-Ready Writing Essentials™ does an excellent job of preparing students for college writing.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew have been writing about the Full Package as well as the Preium Package of College-Ready Writing Essentials™.

Click here or on the graphic below to read more reviews of BetterRhetoric and their Full and Premium Packages of College-Ready Writing Essentials™.

br-better-rhetor-reviews-2019

img_3888

Posted in Audio Dramas, Book Reviews, Home School Review Crew Posts, Uncategorized

Review of Britfield & the Lost Crown

britfield_6x9-hard-cover-jacket_3d-mock

We have been reading and loving an adventure novel called Britfield & the Lost Crown and the escapades of Tom and Sarah.  Having already read a physical copy of the book myself, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review the audio version of this book.  I have to say it did not disappoint. Full of English history, this adventure novel was worth both reading to as well as to hear being read aloud.

stewart-color-800px

C. R. Stewart, the author, has 20 years of experience in writing everything from fiction to non-fiction, and even movie screenplays.  Our family feels he has done an excellent job of creating a picture with his words in this Young Adult novel.

As a parent, I appreciate having the options of a paperback book, an e-book as well as an Audible audiobook.  Because we already had a physical copy of this book, I was excited to see the audiobook being offered for review.

Audible picture for Britfield & The Lost Crown

I was already familiar with the story and spoke about some points with my family.  However, the added dimension of listening to an audiobook as a family increased my enjoyment.  As we began listening to the story which is set in England, I was thrilled that the narrator, Ian Russell, spoke an accent.  I feel he did an excellent job, and his voice fit the storyline so perfectly.  

As an orphan, Tom endures much hardship at Weatherly Orphanage and at the hands of the individuals in charge, Mr. and Mrs. Grievous, the seedy caretaker Mr. Speckle, and even the legendary watchdog Wind all create a miserable existence for the children who are essentially being held hostage in the orphanage.

When Tom discovers his parents may be alive, he endeavors to make plans to escape the orphanage.  Sarah, one of his friends from the orphanage, winds up having to escape with Tom.  The relationships throughout the story came across well to our family.  We enjoyed listening to the adventures and escapades of Tom and Sarah as they made their way to London.

As Tom and Sarah move from one place to another and from people and situations to new circumstances, our family was enthralled by this book.  The danger, adventure, and mystery are portrayed well.

One of our family’s favorite parts of this story is when Tom and Sarah take to the sky in a hot air balloon.  It emphasized the importance of the hot air balloon the cover of the book.  Full of danger, adventure, and mystery, the story kept our attention. While I personally have no desire to go up in a hot air balloon, I can picture my children being open to such an adventure.

Detective Gowerstone provides an interesting foil for Tom and Sarah, but things are not always as they appear to be.  So our family also appreciated how the storyline developed through imagery and details that assisted our imaginations.  Throughout the story, we found things and people we thought were one way to actually be a different way.  We appreciated these twists.

There is an 83-page pdf study guide that goes with this book. It can be found on the Resources page here, along with printable quotes, creative ideas, and more.  The study guide is designed to be used over eight weeks (or longer) taking students through the book chapter by chapter.  It includes activities involving vocabulary, comprehension activities, and other activities such as crossword puzzles and word searches.  I definitely feel this guide would be an excellent addition for homeschooling families to assist with family involvement and ensuring your children are retaining what they are reading or hearing.

 

You can find  Britfield & The Lost Crown on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our only complaint about this story is the same one I had when I initially read the book.  We were disappointed it ended and the next novel in the series is not supposed to be released until sometime in 2020.  We are anxious to find out how the story continues.

So if you want to read or listen to an adventure book with English history, check out this book for yourself.

If you want to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew about Britfield & the Lost Crown and the escapades of Tom and Sarah, click here or on the graphic below.
Posted in 2019 Home School Review Crew Posts, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Planning, Uncategorized

Review of My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping and their Annual Membership Plan

my-school-year-banner

img_4204

Regardless of what style of homeschooling your family does, at some point, every family needs a way of maintaining records of what topics and subjects have been covered.  Also, every family at some point or points needs to be able to generate transcripts and other types of reports to demonstrate what your students have covered. With the Annual Membership Plan, I can use My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping to easily track and organize our homeschool.

a31cf93b-3a4d-43bb-bc14-a877b44ac779-800-000000ff0c82f321_file

My School Year Homeschool Record keeping is a record-keeping program that functions as a planner and more.  From everything from keeping track of the usual subjects and attendance records to creating transcripts and more this program has a lot to offer.

7cf5e789-82e6-40a0-abf2-ae29403e3483-800-000000ffd8e0fd72_file

I freely admit I am a planner-junkie.  I love planners.  I love exploring what various programs have to offer.  So I was excited to have the opportunity to review this program.  I would like to state I am the primary one who has been using this program since I am setting up our new school year using it.  Our new school year will not start until the day after Labor Day in the United States, so we still have over a week to go. This planner is online so it goes where your family needs it to go.

My School Year Homeschool Record-keeping offers a homeroom where you can quickly see at a glance your students.  There is a calendar which displays appointments, extracurricular assignments, and more.  The lesson plan book displays assignments.  A large number of reports are available to use and print.  Finally, the Teacher’s Aid displays what you or your students still need to do.  Because I have a few subjects we have not made a final decision on what materials we are going to use, those items display here and serve as reminders of what I still need to do.  Also, because we have not started our school year yet, I see prompts to enter attendance into the program.

I began by inputting basic information such as school information, student information, subjects, and even our extra-curricular activities.  I found the program fairly easy to use when getting started.  The screens were fairly easy to follow.

4611fd21-0c04-426c-9d93-12064c27f7d3-800-0000001c5d6a019d_file

For families who have more than one student using a particular curriculum, it is fairly easy to assign those students to the same lesson plan.  When our children were younger I would have loved this feature.

I love how the calendar function displays appointments, events, extracurricular activities, lessons, and reading list as well.

a31cf93b-3a4d-43bb-bc14-a877b44ac779-800-000000ff0c82f321_file

Also, the number of reports and the types of reports available is impressive.  Here are some examples of what reports you can create.

 

You can find My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping on social media on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MySchoolYearWeb
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/MySchoolYear

Each day you can set up the program to send emails to remind you of what needs to be completed that day.  I find this to be a worthwhile function.

All in all, I am pleased with this program.  It packs a lot into a fairly straightforward program.  So check out the Annual Membership Plan from My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping to see how you can easily track and organize your homeschool.

Other members of the Home School Review Crew are also sharing their experiences with this online planner this week.  So click here or on the graphic below to read other reviews.

 

Posted in Classical Homeschool Method, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling, Literature

Memoria Press’ Tenth Grade Literature Guide Set

img_4044

logo-text_1375x140-1

If you prefer classical Christian education then you need to check out Memoria Press and their Tenth Grade Literature Guide Set which includes the To Kill a Mockingbird Literature Guide.  As someone who loves to read, and more importantly loves to read quality literature.  I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review this Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press.  Through our years of homeschooling, our family has always found Memoria Press offers quality Christian based materials that meet our family’s needs.  This package includes The Scarlet Letter, Julius Caesar, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Romeo & Juliet. This tenth-grade set is suitable for students in Grades 8 – 12.

All of the guides begin with preliminary information to help the students get started including how to mark a book, how to set up the notebook, and other helpful suggestions.  Then each guide moves into the actual work of literature being studied. The Student Guides are designed for the students, while the Teacher Guides are designed for the Teacher/Parent.  The Teacher Guide includes the Student Pages along with answers to the questions for those pages in the margins, tests, quizzes, writing assignments along with other features designed to help the teacher.

The Student Guide includes directions for the student, questions to answer, and other information necessary to help the student complete their work.  For our daughter, who is 16-years-old, little assistance or instruction was needed from me in order for her to complete the actual assignments.  However, if you were using this with an 8th or 9th grader, they may require additional assistance.  I think these guides would work exceptionally well for students close in ages/grades to each other.  If I was using these with our oldest two sons who are two years apart, I would definitely use one level for both sons.  However, they have graduated already, so that is not an option.

img_4124

We elected to start with the guide for To Kill a Mockingbird.  The set includes a Teacher Guide and Student Book.  Rather than writing in the Student Book, students are required to set up a literary notebook.  In addition to the guides, families will need a copy of the book (I recommend a physical copy since students may want or need to mark in it). Also, the student will need a notebook or other means of keeping up with the written assignments.  We elected to use an online word processing program to make it easier for us to pick up the work and go.  Plus it made it frees us from worrying about papers getting damaged or lost.

img_4125

The guides include Vocabulary assignments, comprehension questions, basic features and backgrounds, useful literary terms, setting, and more.  Our daughter appreciated the reading notes at the beginning of each chapter in the Student Guide.  She stated some questions were very straight-forward and simple to answer, such as when the author was born or when her parents were married.  However, other questions required more thought and effort to answer.

In addition to the vocabulary work and comprehension questions, essay assignments and Tests and Quizzes can be found in the guides as well.  We felt these items helped keep students on track and allowed parents to see how much their student was retaining.  Since we are on a summer schedule, I am allowing our daughter to work at a slower pace than I would if it was our normal school year.   The first test for To Kill a Mockingbird does not come until after chapter 11, we did not complete that quiz yet.

All of the guides contain the same features of completing vocabulary, comprehension questions, reading, and either quizzes and tests or just tests.  Our second son is looking forward to his sister completing the two works by Shakespeare.  So we will see if he provides his sister with assistance when we begin those two guides.

img_4130

Here are sample pages from the other guides.

img_4127

img_4129

You can find Memoria Press on social media at these links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/memoriapress/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MemoriaPress
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/memoriapress/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/memoriapress
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memoriapress/

You can find out about their affiliate program here

Other members of the Home Schoool Review are blogging about their experiences with Memoria Press and their Tenth Grade Literature Guide Se along with other levels of their literature guides.  So click here or on the graphic below to read additional reviews.